Hamilton County Schools and the city of Chattanooga on Monday announced their Community Forward Schools Partnership, which "utilizes a holistic approach to tailor support, provide opportunities and remove barriers to student learning and family wellness."
The city will pay for some personnel in the schools who aim to connect families to resources in the community.
Officials said, "Community schools use academic and non-academic data to respond to whole-child and whole-family needs.
Their mission is to remove barriers to learning by identifying needs, cultivating relationships, and aligning supports to ensure students and families flourish."
“We know our students will have significant needs when they return to school, and the city is positioned well to help connect kids and families to services they need,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “I’m proud to live in a community where the city and county work together to help all children thrive and experience a future without limits.”
Officials said, "The integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized approach that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and extended opportunities for school, home and community connections.
"This approach is not new to HCS as the Northside Neighborhood House has been doing community schools work with the district for nearly six years and has laid a strong foundation for the new Community Forward Schools partnership to build on in the days ahead.
Mayor Tim Kelly is committing community center staff to participate in this initiative. The school locations for these staff will be finalized before the start of the school year."
“Education is not optional; not if we want to give our students, our city and our workforce the opportunity to grow and thrive,” said Mayor Kelly. “Through partnerships like this one, the city and Hamilton County Schools will ensure that our students are prepared to progress so that we may unlock our community’s potential.”
The Community Forward Schools Partnership advances the district’s strategic plan focal areas of Engaged Community and Accelerating Student Achievement and aligns with the cradle-to-career work of Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger as well as the HCS Children’s Cabinet.
“This partnership is another asset in our ongoing effort to produce the highly educated workforce our economic development initiatives need,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “The Community Council will play a key role in not only accessing student needs but also identifying potential obstacles and designing ways to overcome them to create a skilled workforce.”